6. Transportation

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Transportation BannerThe Alameda
Mission Santa Clara served as the parish church for the first settlers of San Jose. To encourage travel between San Jose and the mission, a four-mile road, The Alameda, was built in 1799. The road was lined with irrigation ditches and willow trees. Maintenance was costly, so tolls were charged for awhile in the mid 1800s: 10 cents for buggies and $1 for stages. Still a major road today, The Alameda is a California Community Millennium Trail. 

Stagecoaches & Trolleys
The first stage service in California started in 1849 between San Jose and San Francisco. Stagecoaches crossing the Santa Cruz Mountains also stopped in Santa Clara. In 1868, a horse drawn trolley on a narrow gauge railroad was built on The Alameda, the first in the West. This line was replaced in 1888 with California's first electric trolley which ran down Franklin Street until 1938. The popular Blossom Line tour went through the orchards. 

The San Francisco and San Jose Railroad began service in 1864 and Santa Clara was one of only two depots along the way. The Santa Clara Depot is the oldest continually operating station in the West and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Mail, freight and passenger trains such as the Coast Daylight, Lark, Del Monte and Suntan Special operated through this junction. 

As Santa Clara grew, better roads were needed. Local streets in the Old Quad area were paved in the early 1900s and streets connecting Santa Clara to other towns became major roads. Farming roads like Homestead, Lawrence Station, and Stevens Creek evolved into the thoroughfares of today. In the 1960s the County of Santa Clara started the expressway system to serve commuters traveling between home and work in Silicon Valley.
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